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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

An accident

I cycled down to Amersham Hospital to have my routine blood test. On the way back, there's a few roundabouts. At one of them, I checked on my right, nothing coming, so I got onto the roundabout to go straight ahead.

A woman on the road to my left, didn't see me, and drove straight in front of me. And then I'm guessing she did see me, because she abruptly stopped. Right in front of me.

I have good brakes on the bike, and I applied them as hard as I could, and managed to stop before I would have crashed into the side of her car. But when you brake that hard, it's easy to lose balance, and that's what happened to me. I didn't hit her car, but I toppled off onto the tarmac.

I fell onto my right side, and lay there, in quite a lot of pain, and hoping that no-one would drive over me. The car drove away, but stopped a few yards further on and the woman came back. If she hadn't, she ould have been in serious trouble, because there were several witnesses, and someone took her number.

Meanwhile, another woman, who had first aid experience, checked me for broken bones, then helped me to the middle of the roundabout. Someone else called an ambulance, which arrived a few minutes later.

The crew checked me out, and decided that I wasn't so seriously hurt as to need hospital, so they took me, and the bike, home.

But by golly it hurts. The act of standing up hurts, sitting down hurts, moving my arms hurts, moving my legs hurts. I can barely manage a slow shuffle to get around. I'm on paracetamol.

Last time I fell off my bike it was on a bridleway, and it was entirely my fault.  Thus time it wasn't my fault, and the fall was onto hard tarmac. Last time it took months before I was fully recovered.

I gave her a piece of my mind, and she was very apologetic, it's never happened before. I explained to her about SMIDSY "Sorry mate I didn't see you". Hopefully she'll be more careful in future.

If you can't positively check that there's nothing coming towards you, then assume that there's a bike doing 10 to 15 mph, and that if you hit it, you'll kill or seriously injure the rider.


One cheer for Barclays

I don't know if this is a new feature, but I hadn't known about it.

It's page no the Barclays web site www.barclays.co.uk, which lets you check if a phone number really is a Barclays number.

https://www.barclays.co.uk/security/phone-number-lookup/

Well done Barclays!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Moggiedawed

I just used the word "moggiedawed" and the person I was talking to didn't know what it meant. So I explained it, it means confused.

Then I wanted to see if I'd explained it accurately, so I googled it.

To my great surprised, it came up with four hits. And all of them were me!

So I checked with ladysolly. She also knew the word, and had the same definition. I'm pretty sure I learned it from my mother. She thinks she learned it from her family.

Is this word local to the drsolly family? Or is it yiddish? If it were yiddish, I'd have expected a few more hits.


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Vat reporting changes

Three ironic cheers for HMRC.

At the moment, in order to report my VAT numbers and how much tax to pay, I log into their web site and type the numbers into a form. Simple.

But I've just heard that they are "going digital". In future, I will have to type the numbers into a Excel spreadsheet and run some software that transmits the same numbers to HMRC. I wonder if that software will work on Linux? Fortunately, I still have a Windows computer, and I probably have an old copy of Excel somewhere.

How is that an advance?

Meanwhile, at the end of next March, we leave the EU. Unless we don't. And at that point, what happens with VAT?

At the moment, I charge VAT on all sales to EU countries, at the various VAT rates of each country, and then I use a thing called "VAT MOSS" to pay the VAT to the 27 EU countries. On sales to non-EU countries, such as the USA, I don't charge VAT, because they aren't EU.

What happens after March 29?

I have no idea. HMRC has no idea. HMG has no idea. Seven months from now, it all changes, and no-one knows what it changes to.

Instead of messing around with how I report UK VAT, they should be sorting out what's going to happen with VAT and Brexit.


Friday, 10 August 2018

Beep beep UPS

I was doing some routine maintenance in the Data Shed, and it gradually dawned on my that I could hear a beep beep noise, as of a machine in distress. My binaural beep-location soon tracked it down, it was the UPS that protects the router that converts the fibre optic cables from the street outside, to the ethernet that the data shed requires.

This device has two power inputs, which is a good idea for such a critical piece of kit. It means that if one power cable goes down, the router will continue to work. So I have each of those inputs on a different UPS.

I tried powering the UPS off and on again, that didn't work. So I decided to just bypass it, and connect that power input, straight to the power mains, without the UPS.

I did that, but the red light on the router was still on, indicating that it was only getting power from one source, the remaining UPS.

Which, now that the louder beep was silenced, I noticed was flashing its lights in a "help help" manner.

And then I realised that the two UPSes were on the same 13 amp power main, and that the neon light indicating power on the six-way strip, was off. Meaning, that there was no power going to the UPSes, and that explained the distress signals they were both giving me.

And then I noticed that the trip on the fuse box had gone. I still call it a fuse box, even though fuses on house supplies are long gone. So I flicked the trip, power was restored, and the UPSes stopped making distress signals.

And then I thought. I've been silly. I should not have had both UPSes on the same 13 amp mains power!

Fortunately, no harm done in this case. So I ran a power lead from another 13 amp mains supply to one of the UPSes, and now each UPS is on a different power supply.


Blackmail!

From: Angie

Subject: hammer45

It seems that, (hammer45), is your password. You might not know me and you are most likely
wondering why you are getting this e mail, right?

in fact, I put in place a spyware on the adult vids (adult porn) web site and guess what, you
visited this web site to have fun (you know what What i'm saying is). During the time you were watching videos, your internet browser started off functioning as a RDP (Remote Desktop) which gave me accessibility of your screen and webcam. after that, my computer software obtained all of your current contacts from the Messenger, Outlook, FB, along with emails.

What did I really do?

I created a double-screen video. First part shows the recording you're seeing (you have a good taste haha . . .), and Second part shows the recording of your webcam.

what exactly should you do?

Well, I think, $11000 is really a reasonable price for our little secret. You'll make the
payment by Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search "how to purchase bitcoin" search engines like google).

Bitcoin Address: 16GcAcYntnJjJP1uApyYiuZRW5ryaf3Fsv
(It is case sensitive, so copy and paste it)

Important:
You've few days in order to make the payment. (I have a special pixel in this e mail, and at
this moment I know that you have read through this email message). If I do not get the BitCoins,
I will certainly send your video recording to all of your contacts including family, coworkers,
and so on. Having said that, if I get the payment, I'll destroy the video immidiately. If you'd
like evidence, reply with "Yes!" and I will definitely send out your videos to your 6 contacts.
It is a non-negotiable offer, that being said don't waste my personal time and yours by
answering this message.


This is a very old linkedin password (changed ages ago). And, of course, I haven't used it anywhere else.  I received six emails like this, asking for different amounts and with different bitcoin addresses. Also, the email itself was a bit randomised, using different words.

I wasn't aware that linkedin had been hacked, but on checking, I found that 117 million account details are for sale on the dark web, as of a couple of years ago. I do vaguely remember that I might have read abut this hack.

The email came from info@ednawest.com

If you get an email like this, don't worry. If you haven't changed your linkedin password for a while, change it now.


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Another scam

I got a phone call. Apparently, my IP address is about to be changed! So I called them back.


I spoke to "Kevin Sharp". He had the usual difficult accent, and he asked my if I had Team Viewer installed (that's a commonly use Remote Access tool). No, I hadn't.So he talked me though accessing btopenreach5.webnode.com which is a very crude copy of a BT site.

I told him that my computer rebooted.

There was a conversation in Urdu in the background, and I was transferred to "Mike Morris".
Mike told me a whole selection of lies. First, he talked my through discovering one of Google's IP addresses, and told me that was my IP address. Then he told me that I've been hacked, and that someone tried to steal £904 from my account, but he's stopped that. He told me that this was because someone at my local Tesco was stealing my debit card number. But they now have a camera there, so they'll catch him soon.

Then he sent me to the fake BT site, and told me to click on a link there that would install a RAT (RemotePC.exe).  I told him I clicked on it and my computer rebooted. "It's been rebooting a lot recently, is this the virus?" I asked, innocently. He confirmed that it was.

More Urdu in the background. How stupid they must think we are. And they're probably right, they wouldn't be doing this is it didn't work, at least sometimes.

Then I panicked, and told him that I need to talk to my bank, to block my account, but he said he's already done it. I said I still felt that I needed to talk to my bank, and he offered to transfer the call to my bank. "Oh yes," I said eagerly, keen to find out how well they'd be able to impersonate my bank. But he didn't do that, and continued with his standard script. He wants me to visit my local Tesco. I have no idea why. He wants me to take my mobile phone with me when I go. I told him I don't have a mobile phone. "Are you sure?" he asked. I told him that it's possible that I hav a mobile phone that I don't know about. I think that piece of sarcasm flew over his head.

He asked for my address, so I gave him the address of someone who had spammed me a while ago. And he asked for my debit card number, and I gave him a 16 digit number to play with.

Then I told him I was very worried about all this, and I was going to talk to my bank,. and I hung up on him. That's so that when he tries to run the card, he isn't surprised that it fails.

Then I reported him to:

1) The Telephone preference service
2) Webnode abuse
3) BT Openreach

I'll give it an hour or two, then call him back. They don't get away that easily!

... later ...

I got an email back from webnode

" Webnode team, please check the content of the below-mentioned domain name. It looks like
phishing.


Best


Realtime Register Abuse Dept. "





One look at that site and they'll kill it, it's a very obviousd scam. A small victory :-)